The Susan Marr House is known as the worst-looking house in Virginia City, Montana, but it’s about to get some long-needed attention this summer. The house is the focus of a hands-on workshop that will bring volunteers to this Gold Rush city to preserve the building, which has only half a roof and has suffered from sixty years of exposure to the elements. The workshop will be held July 14-18, 2008.
The workshop is being organized by Heritage Conservation Network in association with the Virginia City Institute for Preservation Research and Technology and the Montana Heritage Commission. Jeff McDonald, Lead Preservation Specialist for the MHC, will lead the volunteers as they work to stabilize the wood frame building. The house is one of dozens of properties in need of restoration work in the Virginia City National Historic District; volunteers play a vital role in keeping the town’s history alive.
The site can accommodate up to 10 participants. The deadline for registration is June 15, 2008. The cost per person is $425, which includes instruction, materials and insurance. Transportation, meals and lodging are the volunteers’ responsibility; lodging is available at one of the many local B&Bs. No experience working with historic buildings is necessary. For workshop details and registration information, see www.heritageconservation.net/ws-virginia-city-2008.htm, or call HCN at +1 303 444 0128.
Ironically, the Susan Marr house sits close to the newly restored Dr. Daems-Corbitt Residence where HCN volunteers worked last summer. HCN is no stranger to buildings in poor condition, however. Volunteer crews over the course of three summers brought the 1887 Francis Grist Mill in Waynesville, North Carolina, back from the brink of collapse. “We’re always impressed at the amount of work a dedicated team of volunteers can accomplish,” says Jamie Donahoe, HCN’s co-founder. “We expect this project to be no different, and encourage anyone interested in history or historic buildings to join us.”
Heritage Conservation Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of architectural heritage around the world. HCN’s workshops give volunteers the opportunity to give something back by helping to protect valuable cultural treasures. To learn more about HCN’s international workshops, visit HCN’s website www.heritageconservation.net.
The Montana Heritage Commission manages some of the most valuable and fascinating historic sites in Montana, including Virginia City, and promotes and preserves the sites while encouraging Montanans and their guests to become excited about the rich history of the state. Learn more at www.montanaheritagecommission.com.